, BERLIN, Dec 10 – British budget airline easyjet scrapped all flights leaving from a snow-covered Berlin on Friday morning because of what it called a "serious" shortage of de-icer to make its aircraft safe to fly.
On Thursday, about 200 flights operated by all airlines were cancelled at Berlin\’s two main international airports, about one third of those scheduled, a spokesman said, partly for the same reason.
The Bild newspaper cited a spokesman for Swiss chemicals company Clariant, which supplies de-icer to airports, as saying that there were supply problems.
"There are bottlenecks. There has been an early start to winter across Europe. Everyone needs de-icer all at once," the spokesman said.
GlobeGround, which de-ices planes at the German capital\’s two main airports Tegel and Schoenefeld, said that manufacturers were experiencing "drastic" problems not only in delivering to airports but also in production.
"GlobeGround\’s de-icer stocks have fallen dramatically. There are currently nine orders for Tegel and Schoenefeld that have not been made, many of them were supposed to have come two days ago," it said.
Air Berlin, Germany\’s second-biggest airline after Lufthansa, said that there had been shortages in recent days, but that the situation had returned to normal on Friday.
"We think it is a structural problem. There are only a few firms in Europe (who make de-icer), leading to shortages across Europe, which could become a problem this winter," a spokeswoman told AFP.
Frankfurt airport, Europe\’s third busiest, was not experiencing any shortages, however, and traffic was slowly getting back to normal after recent delays, with around 40 cancellations on Friday, a spokesman told AFP.
Heavy snow has also caused major delays on Germany\’s roads and railways in recent days, and fresh snow was falling in southern regions on Friday.